Focus is snapping hard at the heels of B&Q, the giant of DIY retailing. Founded in 1985 by Bill Archer, the Crewe company is now Britain’s second-largest DIY retailer and is taking on its larger rival by creating family-orientated stores with pet and craftwork sections.
Growth has been helped by a programme of acquisitions, including the purchase in 2000 of two competitors, Wickes and Great Mills, for a reported £574m. This strategy has driven up profits 92% a year from £9.5m in 1998 to £67.4m in 2001, when sales reached £1.5 billion and Focus had 15,470 staff.
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